Vampire Code: Nuptial Babysitters

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After the conclusion of  Jaclyn and Davion’s wedding, a beam of light shone on the cynda.

“Will you watch the kids?” Cathy called to Jaclyn as the light pulled her up into a space craft belonging to the thousand mommies of her best friend, onezero.

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“Where are you going?” Jaclyn called. “When will you be back?”

“Shan’t be gone long!” Cathy shouted back. “It’s onezero’s thousand! I guess they need an update!”

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“Let them know we’ve got it covered!” Jaclyn shouted. “And pick up any strategy tips they might offer!”

“Will do!” came Cathy’s reply, barely audible.

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“I’m faira certain they nae had got the toothfanged ones up in that far away place,” Davion mumbled.

“Don’t be so sure, Davi,” replied Jaclyn. “At any rate, they’ve stronger rune than we and ancient-old ways to draw from!”

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When the disc ascended out of sight, Jaclyn headed in to check the little ones.

Rocket lay curled at the head of his bed, like a pea seed, waiting to sprout.

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“You have got the menë, little seedling. What a big sprout you will grow to be!”

She knew the prophecy, sure enough, as did all who came from her land–Davion knew it, too.

When comes the time that light and dark
are topped and turn,
and he whose name is formed of light
sends the man of dark on the
wisp of the wish

Then the crack shall grow and spread
And all will feel the reach of dread.

The Cynda sees and brings to bred
the wisher and the wishing seed.

From this union,
now come three.
But keep apart the
strong of heart
Until the wish is heard again

And then we find
The merry men.

The line is formed.
Red flows free.
And only one can stop
the spree.

The only one
is Number Three.

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Rocket stirred.

“Ama?” he called.

“Ama will be back soon, little Pea,” said Jaclyn. “Let your Ama’s cynda read to you.”

“Who she?” asked Rocket.

“She is me!” replied Jaclyn.

She found a book of hobbit lullabies tucked in the bookshelf.

“Born of moon,
Little Silver,

“Rest until
Returns the chilver.

“Little lamb,
Little man. 

“With sleep grow strong
Then rights the wrong.

It won’t be long.
It won’t be long.”

Soon he was fast asleep.

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“Do you think Ama will bring back a moon rock?” Florinda was asking Davion when Jaclyn joined them in the living room.

“She’s not going to the moon, though, eh?” replied Davion.

“But she must!” said Florinda. “I saw the moon, and I saw the ship, and then the ship was gone, and now all that’s there is the moon!”

“It’s a very fast ship, henig,” said Jaclyn. “Once it speeds to going, it travels faster than we can see with our eyes.”

“But she always comes back soon,” replied Florinda, “every time she goes with them.”

“It’s the funny time,” said Davion. “Fast for you and me, eh? But for the ones up and away, it’s a very long time. Nae, not to worry. She’ll be back before ye rise with the morning light.”

“That she will,” said Jaclyn.

“And will you and Davi stay with us?” asked Flor. “It’s not like we haven’t been alone before, because usually when she goes with them, me and Sparkie stay. But this is the first time that she’s gone since Rocket was here. And what if he wakes up and misses her?”

“We shall stay,” said Davion.

It wasn’t how Jaclyn had imagined spending her wedding night, but it was right, after all.

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Vampire Code: The Cynda

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“What are they doing, Ama?” asked Sparkroot.

“Have a chat-chat-tickle-me!” laughed Rocket.

“They’re not having a tickle-fest,” said Cathy. “Though it does look like it,” she added as she glanced over to Jaclyn and Davion near the portico. “They’re getting married.”

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After supper, while Jaclyn had helped Cathy wash the dishes, she’d leaned over and whispered, “Will you be my cynda?”

“Really?” Cathy had replied, louder than she’d intended. “Really?” she whispered. “You’re doing it? When?”

“Tonight!” Jaclyn had answered. “Now! Or at least, as soon as we’re done with the dishes.”

Cathy agreed to the honor. Jaclyn had been her own cynda when she and Brennan had married. The cynda is the most respected member of the traditional elvish wedding ceremony, especially when it is private or when the union has been expected for a long time. The term comes from “cynda-rutin,” or “bystander,” and the cynda is witness, midwife, and marriage counselor, all rolled into one.

Like a bystander, the cynda stands in approximation of the ceremony, close enough to watch, near enough to eavesdrop, and at the ready to coach, persuade, or nudge at the slightest hesitation.

From her spot on the patio, it didn’t look to Cathy that Jaclyn and Davion would need any nudging whatsoever. She’d never seen Jaclyn, in spite of her free and independent spirit, quite so happy.

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Davion said the traditional Gnomish vows:

Spree taka longdy
Aska me de pardy.

Longa dech ne baydoo
Mekka snee par kardy.

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Cathy didn’t know Gnomish, but she knew the voice of love.

“They look happy,” Sparkroot said.

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Jaclyn replied with her own cross between a blessing and vow:

Sun in the west,
bird on the nest.

Feather on the wing,
You wear my ring.

It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, Cathy thought. And certainly it was. These were words of love. Sparkroot had grown silent, as he stood to watch and listen. Then why did this heaviness settle over her?

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It wasn’t for Jaclyn and Davion, of that she was sure. She listened to Davi continue with his own vows as he left behind tradition and moved into the region of his own heart.

“Jaclyn, what brought me, brought you. What brought you, brought me. We were both pulled by rune into this nomdish land. What was it for, but to find me and you?”

Cathy had felt that, once, about Brennan, brought here by the rune of her own wish. She’d been happy when they’d married. She’d believed the words she’d said:

To stand with fate
Sometimes brings
Greater freedom
Than to walk alone
Through heaven’s gate.

But that had been so long ago, before she’d felt imprisoned by his harshness. Still, it felt like standing with fate, to have brought into this world these three children. That was something.

But where was freedom? Where was warmth? Listening to Jaclyn and Davi, she couldn’t help but imagine what it would feel like to have kindness and fate.

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She shook herself to dispel her wistfulness. This wasn’t a time to shade the moon.

There’s freedom in surrender, no matter how heavy the weight.

Jaclyn laughed again.

“Go on,” she said. “Put on the ring!”

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“Once I do, it’s nae comin’ off!” replied Davion. “Are ye sure as can sure can be?”

“Oooh!” replied Jaclyn. “Maybe you can take it off on Sunday, every fifth Sunday, and I’ll be a fifth-free-dove!”

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“That would nae do!” said Davion. “Just give me the ring and I shall put it on before we have to call the cynda to make us do so!”

And with that, he put on the ring that sparkled like a star’s wink.

“My bonny elvish bess,” he said.

“My sweet runish doan,” she replied.

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“They’re married now,” Sparkroot explained to Florinda, “just like Ama and Ada.”

“Will they live in separate houses,” asked Florinda “like Ama and Ada?”

“Most likely so,” replied Sparkroot. “That’s how you stay a happy couple.”

“Will they have lots of kids?” asked Flor.

“Most likely yes,” replied Sparkroot. “That’s what comes from married people.”

“Then they’ll be very, very happy,” said Florinda. “Just like us!”

“More pasta, Ama!” yelled Rocket. “Tummy wants yummy! More yummy!”

Cathy had to laugh. Love is still love, even if no one is the perfect spouse. And even the sting of the harshest of words could fade inside the ring of happiness.

Freedom meant something more than having no cares: It meant tending to the cares entrusted to one with a carefree heart.

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Vampire Code: Kinnish Smile

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Jaclyn found a spot at the tables near the performance area, where Cathy was playing Irish ballads on an old guitar. She waited for Davion to finish his stint at the grill and join her.

She caught the whiff of tubers sprinkled with calendula pollen.

“My favorite,” she said, moving to sit beside her boyfriend.

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They’d gotten together so quickly, all those years before. She’d known, the instant she saw this twinkly-eyed gnome that they were bound to be together. The same rune had pulled them both.

She hadn’t wanted more than what they had–kisses snuck in when no one looked; cheerful banter; an unspoken promise. Separate homes suited her just fine, especially when his perched on the island across the bay.

As a wee girl, she’d never nursed dreams of husband, home, and family. Her dreams were always of the wide oak and meadow. Sometimes, she bristled at the closeness–she loved the feel of freedom more. But still, once or twice a moon, she and Davion came together, and it felt as right as kin.

Tonight, Davion’s presence carried strength. If it was true, as she was beginning to suspect, that she’d been pulled here for this campaign that she and Sugar were about to marshal, then maybe Davion had come for that same reason. She could use a Sargent at Arms by her side.

He would make a fine husband, this jovial, hale fellow. She would feel strengthened, to be able to call him mate.

“Will you spend the day with me tomorrow?” she asked before returning home.

“Sure as the dew on the meadow!” he replied.

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The next morning, she waited in the garden, staking the hollyhocks. She greeted him with a kiss, and one led to another, and soon they stumbled into a bush, and by the time they emerged, Jaclyn had made up her mind. She would ask him.

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But not right at that moment.

For at that moment, it was time for elevenses, and after elevenses, time for a pot of Darjeeling tea, and after tea, time for scones and more tea, followed by scones with strawberries and Devon cream, followed by strawberries with coffee and chocolate, and soon, Jaclyn remembered that she had promised Sugar to run up the hill to see if it was true what Sugar suspected about Cathy Tea and Brennan Stuckey’s youngest son, Rocket, so it looked like afternoon tea–and any possible question that might or might not be popped–would have to wait.

“Come with me, eh?” she asked Davion. “I need your keen eyes, too.”

When they arrived at Cathy Tea’s, they found Rocket first, dancing with a wild look in his eyes.

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“Aye, he’s got the rune,” Davion whispered. “This one. He’ll do!”

Jaclyn nodded.

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She would call Sugar later. For now, they soaked in the good feelings of this bustling family.

Cathy invited them to stay for afternoon tea, and Davion and Jaclyn joined the family on the patio for green tea with veggie wraps.

Towards evening, Jaclyn and Davi found themselves upstairs, alone.

“I like the kinnish smile here,” Davion said.

“Yeah, it feels like home,” said Jaclyn.

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She wanted to keep that homey warmth.

“Davion,” she whispered, as she kissed him on the cheek.

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“Oak in the meadow
Acorn on the tree.

“Ring on the collared dove,
Marry me.”

She pulled a fairy quartz ring from her pocket and handed it to Davion.

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“It fits,” he said. “I never thought and yet I always dreamt that I would have a bonny elvish bess!”

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“I’m hobbit, too,” she said, as she kissed him full on the lips.

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“What will our bairn be?” he laughed. “Elvish-hobbit gnomish bae!”

She giggled. “I hadn’t thought of that!”

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The sun was about to set, and Jaclyn wanted to catch its last rays on this day of promise.

As she walked though the living room, on her way to the edge of the hill, she heard the laughter of Sparkroot and Flor, and the songs and coos of Cathy and Rocket. She knew what wish she would make as the sun’s gold faded: the warmth of kin would bolster any heart, no matter what trials waited in the nights to come.

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Vampire Code : The Fissure

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A fissure ran through the block of oak standing on Jaclyn’s workbench. Around this crack, she’d carve faeries, elves, dwarves, dragonflies, and wood nymphs.

On the reverse, if one knew to look, one would see the peering eyes of a demon. Bringing in one type of magic always let in the other.

The creeping-in had already begun. Her young neighbor Florinda walked past home from school with her head hung down.

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“Why so glum, little Flor?” Jaclyn asked.

“My ada finished the rail line. Did you hear that? Well, not him, but the people he bosses. And now it’s done, and he took Sparkie to go over there, but not me, I had to stay home with Rocket and Ama, but when Spark came back, he was sad.”

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“He was none too happy about that dark place, then?” Jaclyn asked.

“No, siree,” replied Florinda. “He says it’s creeply.”

“But he’s home now, safe as beechnut and sound as rabbit, is he not?”

He was.

“And he has a brave sister with a cheerful heart, does he not?”

He did!

“Then all is right in the world, and don’t you worry about the creeplies in the shadows.”

Florinda’s smile returned and she skipped up the hill.

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Jaclyn headed upstairs to the computer.

Sugar Maple was online.

“It has started,” she typed.

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“The two-way connection?” Sugar typed back.

“Yes!” Jaclyn replied. “That blasted goat-footed man. He should have stayed in the Wishing Well.”

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“We knew this would come,” Sugar replied.

Sugar and Jaclyn been expecting something like this since Cathy’s ill-conceived wish had pulled Brennan Stuckey out of the well. They’d hoped binding the two through marriage would forestall the encroachment.

After their twins were born, each full of such goodness, a swing in the other direction became inevitable.

They’d discussed plans and strategies, but until the connection was actually established, it was impossible to know what exactly to do.

“Keep your hope up!” Sugar typed.

Jaclyn closed her eyes and whispered a quick protection spell.

Spider of
Buttercup, dew drop
Yarrow, bluebell,
Spin a web round
The wishing well.

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“Let’s talk” Sugar typed. “Can you make it to the city?”

They agreed to meet at the Spice Festival at sunset.

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Though Jaclyn had never been to the city, she easily found her way from the rapid transit station to the Spice District. Sugar played her violin, and Jaclyn simply followed the pull she always felt from Sugar’s tunes.

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“Might as well have second supper,” Jaclyn said when she spied the table laden with falafal, curried eggs, and dal.

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“I’ve seen it all before,” Jaclyn told Sugar. “It was like this in the old place. First the trolls. Then the boogeys. Then before you knew it, we were hardly safe outside the warrens.”

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“But you survived,” Sugar Maple said. “It didn’t wipe your peoples out. And you found a balance, right?”

“We adapted,” Jaclyn said. “Protection spells, blessings, wildcrafting. All the rituals of the old ways kept us from being destroyed, at least.”

“That’s what I mean,” said Sugar. “You developed rune. We don’t have to look at this as the end of something. We can think of it as the beginning.”

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“It’s a barrow-full of toil!” said Jaclyn.

“That it is,” replied Sugar. “But then, I’ve never been averse to hard work. Have you?”

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Jaclyn supposed not.

“What’s this?” asked Nathanael, Sugar’s nephew-in-law, who’d come along for the festival. “Are you talking about work at a time for feasting?”

“Simply stringing the loom,” said Jaclyn, “so the warp is set when we’re ready for the weft.”

“Right then!” said Sugar.

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Jaclyn caught the whiff of willow catkins on the grill. She knew of only one man in these parts who had a taste for grilled catkin. Sure enough, near the picnic tables, her sweet-heart Davion dished up a plate of fresh-spring river willow catkins for sampling.

“What brings you here, Davi?” she asked.

“Had an inkling you’d be here,” he said.

“Aren’t you the charmer?”

Sugar came to say good-bye. “I’ve got some research to do,” she said. “Don’t worry, Jaclyn. We’ll find a way to protect who and what we love.”

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New World Symphony: More Gossip

Oh, boy! I was so excited to see this mixologist at the bar, especially when his first action was to flirt with CT!

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It must have been a low-key flirt, though, because while they became friends right away, and full-green-bar friends within an hour or two Sim-time, they didn’t gain a romance bar.

I played CT for a while, just free, loose, fun playing, with no story in mind, just old-style, have-fun play. We invited Davion the mixologist over a lot, and they continued to be great friends. But not once did he come over flirty, and not once did CT roll a whim for any Davion-socials other than the usual friendly ones.

About this time, I realized that Davion looked a lot like gnome. It tickled me because he showed up as a mixologist, and that’s how Jaclyn, our hobbit-elf, came into the game.

When Cypress invited CT to hang out at the bluffs with the other members of Greenies, Cypress’s gardening club, CT asked Davion to come along. CT was chatting with Cypress, ShannonSimsFan, and John when I noticed that Jaclyn, taking a dip in swimming hole, and Davion seemed to be having a very friendly conversation.

During the next game-play session, I decided to play Davion. I realized that it made sense, story-wise, for him to be moved into a house, especially if he is indeed a gnome, here to help Jaclyn with her mission of ushering magic into the New World. Also, I wanted to see if maybe Davion were rolling CT-related romantic whims.

Imagine my delight when I looked at Davion’s relationship bar and discovered that he and Jaclyn were lovebirds, all on their own! How divine is that!

In addition, Davion was rolling romantic whims for Jaclyn!

Now Davion is gloomy, creative, and loves music. Jaclyn is a goofball, noncommittal, and loves outdoors. Goofball and gloomy Sims are compatible, for goofballs (and cheerful Sims) can listen to gloomy Sims share melancholy thoughts without being brought down themselves, and the playfulness of goofballs helps to cheer up gloomy Sims when they’re feeling sad.

I was curious to see how Jaclyn’s noncommittal trait would affect their romance. After Davion initiates a romantic interaction, Jaclyn will often talk about her fear of commitment. During the early stages of their relationship, this increased their romantic relationship.

When Davion sent Jaclyn a happy text, she invited him to the park. And then, autonomously, she asked him to become her boyfriend! I was so happy, since I never like to push noncommittal Sims into romantic partnerships. At this point, when Jaclyn shared her fear of commitment, their romantic relationship went down a bit–but they always bring it right back up again with a few autonomous flirts and tickles. Most of the cuteness that you see between the two of them in the previous chapter happened all on their own, with me just sitting back and snapping photos like a paparazzi.

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It’s even more magical to me that it happened on Valentine’s Day! I just love this game and the magic it brings! Who could believe that it would create a gnome for our funny little hobbit-elf, and that the two of them would fall in love, all on their own?

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New World Symphony: Gnomish

To a gardener who collects statuary, something looked very familiar about the new mixologist at the discotheque.

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But Davion Kern didn’t know that the residents of this world kept small statues of his elders tucked away in garden corners. He didn’t even realize that, to most here, those of his ilk were considered mythical.

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If he had known that his type were considered to be imaginary garden dwellers, it might have made it easier for him to accept his accommodations for his first few days in this new world. As it was, he put up as best he could with sleeping in the scratchy bushes.

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Eventually, he found a little gnome home on a secluded island lot that seemed as if it were just waiting for him.

Shortly after he moved in, his first visitor arrived. How Jaclyn Ball knew that Davion had arrived is anybody’s guess. The moment she walked in his house, she sighed.

“This home feels like home!” she said.

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Am!” he affirmed. “I never expected for to find haldir here in this New World. Willkommen!”

“I’m only half elf,” Jacklyn said, “on my mother’s side. My father is a hobbit.”

“So it is!” Davion said. “And what you bring here for to do?”

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“I only have an inkling,” Jaclyn replied. “And I honestly wasn’t sure if it was anything I could do on my own. The anti-us are very strong here! But now that you’re here, I’m beginning to think that anything is possible!”

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Jaclyn stayed the afternoon, tidying up the little house and brewing fresh mushroom tea. She had grown up with plenty of gnomes back home, so she knew the right amount of moss and dried fungus to mix together to create a wholesome steep.

She found Davion climbing out of the pool naked when the tea was brewed. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen a gnome in the buff, she remembered, laughing at the memories from childhood and feeling happy for all those long-gone days.

“Been thinking over my journey here, rune,” said Davion. “Care to lend an ear?”

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“It began when the old oak called the name I go by, DAVION! You have heard an oak speak, am? You ken that oakish tongue?”

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“‘This way, through here!’ called the oak. ‘Gal, havagun! Gal!‘”

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“So run I did, for when the oak says to gal, who am I to say nid? And as I run, it becomes black all around! Darker than the reddest night! Dark like an elk’s memory of winter!”

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“And when I open these dach eyen, what do I spy? Bottles of lucsious drink! Ale! Mead! Fizzy stuff the color of the inside toppy of the pomegranates! Not only that, but it is me, the havagun,  pouring this for nomdish!”

Jaclyn laughed. “That’s what happened to me, too! My first discovery of myself here, I was standing behind a bar, pouring drinks for the nomdish!”

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“But I can hear home even now,” Davion said.

“I can hear it, too,” said Jaclyn.

They listened together to the far-off flutes and bagpipes and fairy-elf horns, the music of home that brought them both peace and nurturing and sustenance.

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“So what is a young havagun to do here on a fine spring day, with his britches over there, and a fine haldir-hobbit girl over here?”

Jaclyn laughed before she remembered to blush, and by the time the rose faded from her cheeks she remembered that it really was getting late and she really did need to return to tend her own garden in the meadow back on the mainland.

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Early the next day, Davion headed out to explore the park in a distant city. As a gnome, he felt a calling to know all the parks and gardens.

The nomdish seemed none-too-pleased to see this strange-looking fellow romping down the path, but Davion wasn’t dissuaded. As long as he was here, he was sure that it was for a purpose.

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And chances were good that the purpose had something to do with the fetching haldir-hobbit who just happened to be there at that very same park at that very same time!

Helm, haldir! What fairy rune is this to find you here at this dun!”

“I knew I’d see you,” said Jaclyn.

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“As palshnich as a cuppa tea!” Davion said. “That’s what you are.”

“Have you seen the dragons yet?” Jaclyn asked. “The mud dragons?”

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“Like the grum back home?” Davion asked.

“No, far worse!” replied Jaclyn. “These are like normal nomdish–dull, sleepy-headed, lead-foot. Then, they snap! Aargh! And they come schlomping after their prey. Usually little boys.”

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“These are the ones that really don’t believe in magic–in rune! They’re the book-headed, square-nosed, mud dragon types!”

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“But I think we can defeat them,” Jaclyn said. “In fact, I think that’s why we’re here!”

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“I was born to bred to slay the dragon, mich Haldir!”Davion said. “That’s what mich ma and mich da did say for always and ever.”

“I was waiting for you, Davion,” Jaclyn said. “I’ve been doing what I could by myself, with the children, but it hasn’t been enough. But now you’re here, and I knew you’d come!”

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As she said those words, Davion felt a door shut, and the music from home could no longer be heard, but another door opened, and new tunes rolled in–sweet music like lutes and recorders and tiny gourd-drums, and the music seemed to come from here, from Jaclyn.

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They sat together at the table to feast on grilled fruit, but when a playful hobbit-elf sits beside a jovial gnome, not much dining gets done–at least not until after the tickling ceases.

Some say that love is all the magic that we need, here on this wide earth. And some say that magic is what we make, when we close our eyes and tell our stories.

But I say that magic comes here through us, through those of us who slip through the cracks between the worlds and open our hearts to all that exists that can’t be seen with nomdish eyes. And when we find another who sees the same rune that we see, that’s when our magic can change this world.

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